Volume 37 Number 75
                 Produced: Sat Nov  9 22:08:04 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll siddurs in Israel
         [Louise Miller]
Bo'ee V'shalom
         [Moshe Goldberg]
Covering one's Head
         [Ben Katz]
Drinking on Purim - Forbidden?
         [Yair Horowitz]
Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas
         [Ben Katz]
         [Zev Sero]
Rav Shach
         [Mark Steiner]
Reshut Ha'Rabbim
         [Alexis Rosoff]
Socio-Economic Mitzvot
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
WEST as SYMBOL vs USAGE of that symbol
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Louise Miller <daniel@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 19:53:29 -0800
Subject: Artscroll siddurs in Israel

I was amused at the discussion of Artscroll siddurs in Israel, because I
have just spent the past week trying to get a copy of the Chaim Shlomo
(elementary school) siddur sent to a gentleman in Ben Shemen who will be
making siddur covers for my son's first grade class.

It was special ordered for me, and I imagine that I will end up paying
much more than the US price of $9.50.

Israeli schools all use Rinat Yisrael, and that siddur has more
"flavors" than Baskin Robbins (popular American ice cream chain that
prides itself on a large selection.)

I once taught in an Israeli elementary school, and one of my
responsibilities was to daven mincha with a class of 5th grade girls.
It usually took longer to accumulate the right siddurs than it took to
daven, and I was always convinced that they were making some of the
nusachs up until I actually found the girl her siddur.

Artscroll could never compete.

Louise Miller
La Jolla, CA


From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 09:20:35 +0200 (IST)
Subject: RE: Bo'ee V'shalom

> From: Barry Best <barry.h.best@...>
> having said that, i have davened at many shuls whose aron is not in the
> east and without exception, they all face backward (not westward) for
> bo'ee v'Shalom.  has anyone ever been in a shul where the congregation
> turns to the west when this is not the back of the shul or facing the
> entrance?

At Mitzpeh Netufa, north of the Golani Junction, the shul faces south,
towards Jerusalem. But the minhag for Bo'ee V'shalom is to face west and
not the rear of the shul (which is north).

Moshe Goldberg


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 15:44:32 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Covering one's Head

>I also once heard a rav say that a brocho said with an uncovered head is
>still a brocho. Covering ones head is a separate mitzvah (although it
>has become a sine qua non of our religion).

Covering one's head is a custom.  It was not universally practiced in
Israel (as oppossed to Babylonia) even as late as the 8th century.  In
Babylonia non-Jewish men covered their heads and Jewish men started to
do the same.  This was not the case in Israel.  See Masechet Soferim
where there is a discussion whether someone saying Shema from the Amud
needs to cover his head.  I believe the ruling is in the negative.

btw, this is one of my favorite counter examples to those who view
halacha as a chulent that has been percolating unchanged since Matan

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <Ggntor@...> (Yair Horowitz)
Subject: Drinking on Purim - Forbidden?

I was recently learning masechet Megilla and came across some
information which I believe should be publicized.

"Rava said: One is obligated to become intoxicated on Purim until one
does not know the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is
Mordechai" (Megillah 7b). The gemarah then relates an incident that
occurred due to Rava's enactment. "Rabbah and Rav Zeira had a purim
feast together, they became intoxicated. Rabbah slew Rav Zeira. The next
day Rabbah prayed for mercy on Rav Zeira's behalf and revived him. The
following year Rabbah invited Rav Zeira over for the Purim feast. Rav
Zeira answered him, "Not every time will a miracle occur."

Many overlooked commentaries comment on the "smichut" of Rava's decree
and the story of Rabbah and Rav Zeira. The Ran, the Baal HaMaor, and the
Meiri quote Rav Ephraim as stating that the gemara relates the incident
of Rabbah and Rav Zeira in order to refute Rava's ruling that one must
become intoxicated on Purim. I find it very interesting that so many
yeshiva students find it so easy to only listen to half of the dispute.
Private replies and opinions are welcomed.

-Yair Horowitz, student -The Frisch School, Paramus, NJ. Age 16.


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 15:22:44 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas

>May I suggest "Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas".  It's written by a
>rabbi by the name of Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <g>.  Very highly
>recommended; if you can't get it contact me off list and I'll lend you

As an aside, Rabbi Bechhofer is a tremendous talmid chacham, who was
the Rosh Kolel in West Rogers Park near Chicago before moving to Monsey.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 15:38:51 -0500 
Subject: Re: Kiddush

Eitan Fiorino <tfiorino@...> wrote:

> In discussing Kiddush customs, Zev Sero and Ben Katz mentioned the
> concept that pouring wine into the guests cups prior to kiddush is more
> hygenic/sanitary.  The hygenic aspect of distributing wine after having
> drunk from the kiddush cup is secondary to halachic concerns.

Of course.  Neither Ben nor I suggested differently.  After giving three
reasons for distributing the wine before kiddush, I added "That it's
also more hygenic can't hurt".  I don't know where Eitan got the idea
that I (or Ben) were claiming that this was the (or even a) main

Eitan also wrote
>> This method . . . [of pouring wine for guests prior to kiddush] also
>> has the advantage that the listeners do not experience a delay between
>> the bracha and drinking.
> I don't exactly understand what the problem is with a delay, as long as
> people are not being mafseik by talking or leaving the room.  If guests
> are simply awaiting their wine (and are thus involved in the mitzvah),
> there is not really a problem here.

Surely it is still better to minimise the delay, not only because a
delay of any kind is halachically undesirable, but also for the
convenience of the listeners (especially at a kiddush with lots of
people, where the distribution of the wine can take a few minutes).

Zev Sero


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 23:09:50 +0200
Subject: Re: Rav Shach

I decided to include another story about Rav Shach, zatzal, also told by
his son, Dr. Ephraim Shach, to show that the first one actually
reflected a personality trait of this great talmid hakham.

Two pilots from the Israeli air force came to see Rav Shach and informed
him that they had become baalei teshuva and planned to leave the air
force and join a yeshiva.

"Who paid for your training?" the Rav asked them.

"The Army, of course," they answered. (I have heard that the cost of
training a fighter pilot is a million dollars; at any rate it is a lot
of money.)

"In that case," Rav Shach said, "you have no right to leave the air
force until your contract with them is up."


From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis1@...>
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 21:22:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Reshut Ha'Rabbim

A question that came to mind when reading all the discussions about the
limits for eruvim:

As I understand it, there is an eruv covering the entire West Side from
59th St north, with extensions up through Harlem (I have never had to
make use of the eruv so I'm not sure of the exact boundaries). Now,
given the parameters laid out by previous posters, how is this allowed?
(I'm not questioning the wisdom or halachic knowledge of those rabbeim
who did it; I just don't understand.) Surely, hundreds of thousands of
people-- probably more--must pass through that area every day, so how
could such a large eruv be created?



From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 23:36:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Socio-Economic Mitzvot

Yisrael Medad wrote in MJ v37n12:
<<The Mateh Efraim ... writes that Erev Rosh Hashana is
the first of the four days when one can force the slaughterer to
slaughter a cow worth even 100 dinar even if the client has already only
given one dinar and one doesn't have to wait until enough customers have
paid...  >>

      The Mateh Efraim is basically quoting a gemara.  I drove myself
crazy for about two weeks after this posting first appeared, trying to
find the source in the gemara, the four days to which it applied, and

     I finally found the source:

     There is a mishnah in Hullin (in the gemara, at fol. 83a), which
states two halakhot:

one, a din in "oto ve-et beno," that on four certain days, if one sells
an an animal, you have to state that its mother or child has been sold
the same day, as the assumption is that it is intended for immediate
slaughter for the coming Yom Tov.

      Two: the halakhah cited by Mateh Efraim: that "mash'hitin bal
korho" -- you force the shohet / owner to slaughter it, even at a loss,
because eating meat is a religious requirement of those holidays.  This
latter law is elaborated at Eruvin 81b.

     The four days are: (the eves of) Rosh Hashanah, Shmina Atzeret, 1st
day of Pesah, and Shavuot.  (see Rav Yosef's remark at Beitzah 19b, re
Shavuot as a day of meat eating).  R. Eliezer says that this law also
applies to Erev Yom Kippur in the Gallil.  (but the gemara and tosafot
say that EYK is a day for eating fowl, perhaps related to our minhag of
kapparot).  Why not Sukkot?  Tosafot there (hulin 83a): Because people
are too busy buying lulav and building the sukkah to get deeply involved
in buying animals for slaughter.  No explanation is given about the 7th
day of Pesah, but I assume that one has already fulfilled the mitzvah of
simhat Yom Tov by eating meat on the first day of the hag.

      As for your question about whether there are other socio-economic
mitzvot: on a certain lavel all of Seder Nezikin and Shulhan Arukh
Hoshen Mishpat are concerned with implementing the principles of equity
and justice.

    Another example would be the concept of "hefsed merubeh" -- that is,
if a person might sustain a substantial loss becayuse of a certain
action, this is taken into consideration in pesak halakha -- e.g., in
matters of Yoreh Deah or Shabbat.  I hasten to add, not on the level of
overturning Torah or even established Rabbinic law, but where an akharon
is deciding between positions of two rishonim, etc.

     Have you looked at Meir Tamari's work on Torah and economics?  He's
written several books on the subject, mostly in English. (he's a South
African who's lived in Israel most of his life and was a serious
economist at the Bank of Israel till his retirement). You can flip
through the contents, follow up his references, and I'm sure you'll find


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 21:31:21 -0500
Subject: RE: WEST as SYMBOL vs USAGE of that symbol

I think the recent dialog in v37n65 between Meded and Feldblum confuses
the EXISTENCE of a symbol vs its USAGE

In v37n65, first Yisrael and Batya Medad state that

>The Gemara (and not the Kabbalah) that establishes that the Shechina is
>in the West in Baba Batra, 25A, towards the bottom, in the name of Rav
>Abahu, as opposed to the opinion that Shechina is everywhere.
>By the way, due to this opinion, the Kodesh Hak'doshim was in the
>Western section of the Temple.
>The Mishna Brurah, 262, note 10, writes that the direction is West, based
>on the Pri M'gadim.

Then Avi Feldblum states

>But the Lecha Dodi poem and our practice of saying it, and how we say it,
>is not from a Gemara, but rather from the Kabbalistic practices of the
>AR"I. So how we turn when we say the Lecha Dodi poem only makes sense if
>viewed within the framework of Lurianic Kabbala. That is not to say that
>there are not similar concepts already found in the Gemora, just that I
>do not think that is particularly relevent.

Here is a simple compromise to the above views. First the AUTHORITY for
symbolic meaning of WEST comes from Ex26-33:36 which indicates that the
positions of the Holy of Holies, Candellabrah, Table & Entrance are on
the west, south, north and east. This 4 direction setup is also echoed
in Ex40 (Temple erection) Ex27 (Courtyard construction) and
Ex26(construction of beams).

Hence on the one hand, the Talmud used this WEST=HOLIES symbol to
require people who pray to turn to the west while on the other hand
lurianic Kabbalah used this WEST=HOLIES symbol to require those who say
LECHAH DODI to turn to the west

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYOmi.com/


End of Volume 37 Issue 75